Occupy's Communist Problem
<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbarro/2012/05/01/occupy-oaklands-communi...
<p>Last night’s <a href="http://www.forbes.com/sites/joshbarro/2012/05/01/occupy-general-strike-g... in the Mission District of San Francisco has drawn some criticism from Occupy activists—for its violent tactics and also for its direction against local businesses. But while many Occupiers would like to limit their focus to big banks and other entities they perceive as getting unwarranted special treatment in the economy, others are just opposed to capitalism altogether. For these protesters, small businesses are fair game.</p>
<p>Though last night’s vandalism was in San Francisco, the event that sparked it was organized by Occupy Oakland. And OO describes today’s general strike as an “<a href="http://strikemay1st.com/oakland-strike-station-1-anti-capitalist/">anti-... action that also sees small business as the enemy:</p></td><td><img title="burn the seats at the table, the table, and whomever moves slow enough away from the table to not get burned" src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/club_children.jpg"></td></t...
<blockquote><p>Our hatred of banks, while informed by their participation in the national lending crisis, is moreso a result of the immediate effects that their transactions have brought upon us—home foreclosures faced by our friends or family members. While we understand the alienation of work, we take to the streets on May Day because we seek a better way of living collectively. <strong>While we will oppose the presence of corporate stores in Oakland, we also understand that local businesses are equally exploitative</strong> and that in the end, work under a corporate boss or a small family business is still work.</p></blockquote>
<p>Last night, a statement went up on the Occupy San Francisco website, saying “The march in the Mission Monday night was not an OccupySF event. OccupySF does not endorse this kind of destruction of the 99%’s property.” Weirdly, that statement has now been scrubbed. Occupy Oakland has been much more militant than Occupy San Francisco. But perhaps denouncing the vandalism of local businesses, or implicitly defending the property rights of the top quintile, is not a consensus matter even for OccupySF.</p>
<p>This fissure remains a challenge for the Occupy movement. Occupy protesters take a number of positions that can garner broad support—tax the rich, hold banks accountable, stop foreclosures. But some of its core activists are not satisfied with an agenda to reform capitalism. If you are broadly opposed to profit-making business, it’s not clear why you should be nice to the local artisinal goods shop, or how you can be a part of a winning political coalition. If it wants to be a player in policymaking, Occupy is going to have to push out this extremist wing.</p>